Crash test seat

A reusable energy absorbing seat can be used to simulate a crash to determine human injuries and to help maximize survivability of people in such a crash


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Crash tests are carried out routinely on new model cars, planes, and other transportation equipment. Tests often involve securing the vehicle to an accelerator which catapults it down a track and into a solid structure.  When testing just the vehicle restraint systems and other specific safety components, a seat together with the systems under test are mounted on a test sled which is then sent hurtling towards an impact. Sensors mounted on the sled, on crash test dummies, and on the impact structure record the dynamics of the crash. During this testing, a rigid seat is used on the test sled but these seats are not representative of the type of seats utilized in production aircraft or autos. Crashworthy energy absorbing seats are used in modern planes and other vehicles to help protect occupants from the potentially lethal forces experienced during a crash. The crashworthy seating systems that are used in aircraft can cost in excess of $80,000 per seat and while passenger vehicle seats are much less expensive, they are not cheap. Therefore, utilizing these seats to test impact survivability tends to be cost prohibitive. At the same time, utilizing a rigid seat in testing and/or in laboratory environments results in inaccurate and misleading test data.

Navy researchers have developed a reusable energy absorbing test seat that accurately simulates the expensive crashworthy seats used in aircraft.  The reusable energy absorbing lab (REAL) seat holds a crash test dummy and is secured to a test sled.  This seat provides increased accuracy of crash test data and can thereby better inform safety engineers regarding improvements for pilot, crew, and passenger survivability.

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